Yellow Balloon

Portland, Oregon | Film Short

Drama, Family

Summer Luu

1 Campaigns | Oregon, United States

27 days :13 hrs :19 mins

Until Deadline

88 supporters | followers

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Goal: $30,000 for production

Adopted by their immigrant grandparents, a Vietnamese-American kid longs for self-acceptance and discovers the reality of letting go.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

YELLOW BALLOON is a short film that honors and reflects on our nuanced multi-generational family dynamics, queer self-discovery, the immigrant experience, and facing racial and gender adversity. Help support an all-Asian-American film crew create this original story from our collective experience.

The Story

This is a love letter to our immigrant grandparents for showing us the nuances and layers of love. 


In 1996, a Vietnamese-American kid named Ái Vân from San Jose, California is adopted by their immigrant grandparents who live in the projects of an American city. As their experience unfolds and memories interweave, they long for self-acceptance and discover the realities of letting go.


The main theme of love is threaded throughout different topics and contexts such as self-discovery, the immigrant story, and facing racial and gender adversity. We show love in different ways; it can be through touch, listening, through food, and through language. This is story is an ode to the ones who took care of us and our own path to generational healing.

Audiences yearn for stories that are nuanced and make them feel something — and similar themes in this film can be found cross-culturally. 



This is for the Vietnamese-American community and any people of color from a diaspora or immigrant background.  This project is for the folks who have layered identities and come from rich, multicultural backgrounds.  We hope this work is an honest reflection of how fusing of cultures gives birth to a new generation of identity, layered with queer self-discovery and trauma of societal consequences that follow. There are so many layers of trauma mixed with cognitive awareness and mental illness that are unspoken of until we are much older to understand and process our lives. We all deserve a voice to be heard, to be shared, to be listened to and to be validated with. It is a story that hopefully will uplift others to share their own similarities and experiences and for us to collectively heal together by understanding each other on deeper levels of humanity and grace.


The structure of this short film is meant to be slow, soft, tender, with moments of sporadic emotion interspersed. The story is intended to be non-linear. The story’s core genre is: drama and a dash of memory play.


The film’s color palette aims to exude a moody and grainy with pops of color. Heavy use of shadows. Analogue-like qualities to showcase a different time era, authenticity and imperfections.



This is a love letter to my grandparents for showing me, early on, the complexities and layers of love.  The story came to me when my father passed away from colon cancer in January 2020 and I was visiting my grandmother more often. The recollection of memories of my family mixed with grief and trauma paved way to take a deeper look into the processing of trauma. Listening to stories from my grandmother helped define the theme and story.

From the beginning of this project, I wanted to create this with an all Asian-American film crew, and hopefully, a majority Vietnamese-American, because language and culture is so important to this film. ‘Yellow Balloon’ advocates for original storytelling, inclusivity within creative collaborations, and highlighting voices from underrepresented communities. I’m excited to share this story with the help of an incredibly talented creative team, crew, cast and any one who chooses to support and contribute to this film along the way. Big thank you to our incredible team for believing in this dream and all of our supporters from the beginning. It means the world to have people generously donate to us and cheer us on.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for your support!


Yes, you read that right. Currently, we have an entirely Asian-American film crew, predominately 90% Vietnamese. One of our project’s missions and goals is to support the growth and professional development of those who are people of color from marginalized and underrepresented communities. We aim to have a roster of crew, talent, cast and vendors that identify as BIPOC, person of color, womxn/non-binary or LGbtqia2s+.

We hope to shake the system by having a full project full of minorities contribute through their own artistic means.  We want everyone on our team to be invested in the project through genuine connection and passion for the topics in this story.


We're looking to raise $30,000 to kickstart film production. All funds will go towards paying our entirely all Asian-American film crew, actors, cast members, vendors, who all identify as people of color in addition to production expenses such as props, wardrobe, rentals, locations, permits, and more. Any donation helps and goes a long way to helping us make this film a reality. Our ideal budget for this film is much more than $30k, however, we want to make our Seed & Spark goal of 80% of $30k so we really need your support and the community! We thank you for any donation, anything helps.


We are currently in pre-production right now; we are holding casting calls, location scouts and crowdfunding for funds. With your help and donations, we plan to move this campaign forward but confirming our locations and permits, hiring and confirming our actors/talent/film crew, and also help us find the needed props, wardrobe and set/art design for our scenes. We plan to be completed with the short film by the end of Fall 2024 and start post-production in Winter 2024 and ideally premiering the short film in early 2025 as well as submitting to the festival circuit.

We have plans to stretch past our goal of $30,000 and hopefully reach a larger goal for post-production work including editing, color, sound/music, special visual effects and more. Please donate, pledge, follow and share whatever you can. Any help and support goes a long way for us.



SUM SUM is a minority-woman led photography and film production company based in Portland, OR. Summer Luu & the SUM SUM team have curated and managed the production for this short film project from the beginning.


The Hollywood Theatre is a historic movie theater in northeast Portland, Oregon, owned by a non-profit organization. In February 2024, The Hollywood Theatre granted fiscal sponsorship to director Summer Luu and the Yellow Balloon team. Please consider donating through the Hollywood Theatre if you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to the short film.


Women in Film – Portland is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 member-funded organization dedicated to elevating women in film, communications, and media through education, outreach and professional development in and around the Portland area and is the Portland chapter of the international association of Women in Film. Director Summer Luu is part of the Educate/Incubate 2024 Program and Yellow Balloon is supported by Women In Film PDX.


Vietnamese Portland is a project led by Lewis & Clark College to promote Vietnamese American representation and create a more inclusive history of Portland by letting people of Vietnamese descent, across all walks of life tell their stories. In addition to interviews, they collect documents, photographs, and ephemera. This project is supported in part by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). Additional sponsors include the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the State Library of Oregon; the Council for Independent Colleges; and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Thank you for looking at our crowdfunding campaign

& please share / post about it if you can!

We can't describe how much this means to all of us at Yellow Balloon.

We're here to be the ones to break our family's generational trauma.

This is for you, Ông Bà Nội.


Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Actors & Talent

Costs $7,000

To pay our wonderful actors, to compensate for their talent and time. This includes any travel/accommodations for out-of-state actors.

Film Crew

Costs $15,000

To pay our crew for 4 full days including our camera department, grip & electric department, art department, sound, prop stylists & more!

Production Expenses

Costs $8,000

This includes locations, permits, props, wardrobe, gear/rentals, and feeding our very hungry cast/actors, crew, and team for 4-days.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team


Summer Luu (she/they) is a Vietnamese-American filmmaker, cinematographer, producer, photographer, editor and owner of SUM SUM, a minority-led photo and film studio based in Portland, Oregon.

SUM SUM is a minority woman-led production studio based in Portland, Oregon. We exist to share stories and connect with our community.

Olyvia Chac-Nguyen (she/her) is a Copywriter and Storyteller. Through her creative journey as a storyteller, she unveils the rich tapestry of her first-generation, Vietnamese American heritage.

Stephanie (she/her) is a Vietnamese/Chinese American producer based in Portland, Oregon. With a love of the arts and film, she appreciates stories that are familiar to her life experiences of growing up in the Bay Area to refugee parents and family.


Jordan Hoagbin - Creative Director / Head of Art Dept.

Angela Nguyen - Art Director

Daniel Nim - Director of Photography

Kayla Caldeira - 1st AC

Bang Nguyen - 2nd AC

Kevin Bui - Key Gaffer

Uyen Duong - Prop Stylist

Mattie Ngo - HMUA

Joshua Le - Sound Supervisor & Music Composer

Caroline Weaver - Production Coordinator

& more!



Current Team